Stop relying on your Fitbit to tell you how healthy you are.
And, start listening to your body instead.
Somewhere along the way with all these devices we wear and check in with, we lost touch with what healthy, primed, and optimized actually FEELS like in our bodies.
Peak performance requires you to listen to what your body needs, & then "feed" it what it needs - including food, fitness, & pleasure.
It’s easy to become obsessive about the number of calories you eat while being paranoid about how many you burn when you wear a device on your wrist that claims to track every bite and step you take. First of all, these devices are most likely inaccurate both in terms of calories consumed and calories burned. Meanwhile as you obsess about the numbers adding up, you lose track of the quality of nutrition you are putting in your mouth. At the end of the day you know you ate “this” many calories…but did any of those calories actually nourish you?
True nourishment requires not only awareness around the quality of nutrients you are consuming but also how those nutrients make your body (and mind) feel. There is still so much unknown about nutrition and so many varying factors that affect it – sleep, energy requirements, age, hormones, genetics, fitness levels – it’s impossible (at least at this point) to pinpoint an exact diet that is ideal. That’s why listening to your body is imperative.
Sure, you need a certain amount of knowledge to know what to feed your body to get the results you are looking for. But you also have to develop a relationship with your body where you check in with it to ensure you are on the right track, respecting your needs as they fluctuate on a daily basis. Otherwise you are just pumping yourself full of food (however healthy that food may be) based on external rules instead of eating intuitively for your unique body.
There are so many Instagram accounts and Pinterest boards telling you to do this workout for a model's body, or this list of exercises for a trim tummy, or this weekly routine for slim thighs. The expectation is that if you do the same workout Gigi Hadid does, you’ll end up looking like Gigi Hadid. But here’s why that never works – because it’s not necessarily about the workout.
I often tell my clients that the Bulletproof Ballerina workouts are not magical in and of themselves. The way in which you do the workouts is where the magic lies. Instead of focusing on an arbitrary number of reps and sets, you are encouraged to focus on putting tension in the right places, to understand how your body works, and to push it to do things that wouldn’t be possible without this mind-body connection. In other words, the exercises force you to feel your body. This awareness is necessary for true body optimization that will transfer over to your ballet technique.
You know those days when you are angry at the world? Where everyone and everything pisses you off? Where you fly off the handle and say things you regret before you even know you are saying them? I hate those days because I know my bad behavior and negative emotions are not due to the people around me…but are my own fault. Somewhere along the way, I stopped listening to what I need. I got caught up in forcing things due to external goals or expectations. And I neglected to give myself what I actually craved in the moment – whether sleep, rest, self-care, food, or some kind of “treat” that would help me feel cared for.
These small comforts remind you of your worth - that you are already “enough” even in the midst of all your striving to level up. If you push your body and mind too hard for too long…you eventually rebel. That anger at the world is just that bratty little girl inside you stomping her feet & screaming, “Pay attention to me! ‘This’ is what I actually need right now!” If you give your body simple pleasures when it asks for them, you’ll actually be better equipped to reach your goals in the long run. But that requires you to feel what you need in the moment instead of following a rigid checklist of goal-oriented procedures.
There are so many external devices telling you what to eat and how to train these days. Just remember there are no absolutes, no exact formulas for living the perfect life and becoming your best self. Stop blindly following these external commands and start listening to your body. Treat your body like a never-ending experiment that you constantly have to check in with and adjust. F*ck the numbers on your apps and devices. Feel your body instead.
Photo credit: Steve Vaccariello